European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 177–189 | Cite as

Negotiating and effectuating relocation to sheltered housing in old age: a Swedish study over 11 years

  • Carita Nygren
  • Susanne Iwarsson
Original Investigation


The aim of this study was to explore how very old people consider and arrive at decisions on relocation, with specific attention to housing and health relationships during the process of ageing. The sample included 13 very old participants of an 11-year longitudinal study of relationships between housing and health. Applying a mixed-methods approach, data from qualitative interviews and quantitative survey data from three data collection waves were utilised. The quantitative data were interwoven with the qualitative findings into a coherent body of text. The core theme “Negotiating and effectuating relocation is a long process” indicates a non-linear process consisting of five phases constituting the main categories of our findings. In the first phase, some informants considered relocation while others avoided thinking about it. Next, relations between health and home changed and led to turning points triggering relocation, i.e. when dependence in everyday activities reached critical points or when sudden illness forced an involuntary move. In the third phase, once the decision to relocate was made it was set in stone by the individual, but often questioned by the authorities, leading to a situation causing much frustration. While waiting for the relocation, doubts as well as expectations about the new home were expressed. Finally, even though the actual move caused different feelings, it was most often a positive experience and resulted in subjective health improvement and increased social contacts. The results can be used for the development of positive, proactive strategies for improved housing provision along the ageing process.


Relocation process Housing Health Qualitative data Quantitative data Mixed methods 



We are grateful to G. Wilson, MSc, reg. occupational therapist, for data collection and to research engineer B. Slaug, BA, for running computations. We would like to thank ass. Prof. L. Hounsgaard for contributing to the validity and trustworthiness of our findings. This project was supported by grants from the Kristianstad County Council, the Swedish Federation of County Councils, the Council for Medical Health Care Research in South Sweden, the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, and the Swedish Research Council. This paper was prepared within the context of the Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments (CASE) at Lund University, financed by the Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark

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